Hi, I'm Mark Graban from KaiNexus, where we make improvement happen.
Our company and our software platform help support many improvement philosophies, including Kaizen. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means change for the better, or continuous improvement. We know improvement is hard work, so we need a method and a process to make sustainable improvement happen. Additionally, we need the right kind of leadership, and we need enabling technologies. That’s why we created KaiNexus - to make improvement happen.
It’s proven that the best way to get started with continuous improvement is to go after lots of small ideas. Traditionally, organizations look for that one big million dollar idea, but Kaizen is about finding thousands of little ideas that add up to make a big difference. Sometimes, a really small idea has a surprisingly big impact!
How can you identify your very first opportunity for improvement? Have you ever been at work and thought “Why do we do it this way, isn’t there a better way?” That's an opportunity for improvement! As you go through your day, be mindful of the barriers, the interruptions, the frustrations - anything that gets in the way of you and your colleagues doing your work. It’s okay if you’ve identified a problem that you don’t know how to solve - that’s an important first step in the Kaizen process.
Rather than making suggestions that are really large in scope, it’s good to start by identifying things that you can improve on your own - within your own department, with your team, and with your supervisor. Some examples of small Kaizen improvements can be things like combining two different forms into a single consolidated form or adding traction strips to the loading dock ramp to make things safer.
Kaizen is about small, low cost, low risk improvements that make your work easier. Focusing on making your work easier isn’t selfish - it generally leads to a better workplace and better results for customers and your organization. To get the process started, when you identify a problem or see an opportunity for improvement, take a few seconds to log into KaiNexus and get it entered into the system. You can also use our iPhone app or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Lots of little improvements really can add up to make our jobs more pleasant while increasing safety, quality, and efficiency.
Watch this video to see how KaiNexus customer Four Seasons Produce implemented a small idea from their staff for a big improvement in staff satisfaction and efficiency.
Blog Post: Embrace Continuous Learning in a Deliberate Fashion
Blog Post: From Firefighting to Attention to Detail and Continuous Improvement
Blog Post: Are You Too Busy For Incremental Improvement?
Blog Post: The Value of Logging Small Ideas in Improvement Tracking Software